Monday, August 08, 2011

Quick thoughts on the Afghanistan Chinook crash

There's a lot media noise about the shoot-down of the American Chinook helicopter that killed the barely mentioned yet just as dead Afghan soldiers and the always mentioned US Navy special forces (SEALS) who were all on board. [Odd how the locals usually rate a secondary mention compared to NATO glory-units. Tells you something about who this war is really for. I digress.]

BBC reports the US line being this is a "one-off" as if it some sort of a rarity over there. This isn't true.

There's a Wikipedia page that tracks aircraft losses in Afghanistan. If you read through it, Canada has actually lost two Chinooks (of six) and a Griffon, including one of the former confirmed as shot-down.  Total helicopter losses to date are 101, and fixed wing 23. Most are lost to accident but it makes no difference to the dead, wounded, and bean-counters whether they were lost to enemy action or simply Afghanistan. It's the mission that wrecked them.

A minor point maybe, but it helps clear a way a little of the whaleshit military PR people, politicians, and some of their media parrots pump around events like this. 


thwap said...

Someone i know asked whether there's ever been a helicopter crash wherein all onboard died.

Edstock said...

Um, over a decade, that's like 1 aircraft a month.

Kinda picayune especially when contrasted with, say, the USAAF's efforts over Germany. For example, in one mission, the US lost 60 B-17's over Schweinfurt in 1943, to take out the ball-bearing works. The next day, they went back to finish the job. They lost over 600 men getting it done.

Boris said...


No, nor is it anywhere near the scale of loss the US suffered in Vietnam. However, the losses couldn't be described as relatively rare events. I hadn't expected more than 25 or 30 so I was a little surprised to read those figures.

Mark, Ottawa said...

Aircraft are lost in crashes in non-combat settings all the time: training, exercises, routine flights.


kEiThZ said...

The Griffon was lost to a brown-out. And I believe only one of the Canadian Chinooks was lost directly due to surface fire (SAFIRE in military terms).

~130 birds over a decade, considering the size of their air forces being fielded in Afghanistan, is actually a loss rate safer than some air forces have in peace time at home, believe it or not. Ditto for personnel losses attributed to air incidents.